Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (1999)

I'm going to utter a bit of anathema here, but sometimes movies are better than books.   Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the movie is better than the book.  Whew.  There, I've said it.

The movie is one of my favorites.  It's got a great score, it's cinematographically beautifully shot.  The writing is crisp as hell.  Two things in particular stand out though, in direct comparison to the book.  The magic in the movie is portrayed as something fun and enchanting (pun intended).  And the end makes a helluva lot more sense in the movie than in the book.  So much so that I thought the end of the movie WAS the end of the book, and I missed the dramatic points that were added into the movie (throwing the rock through Hagrid's window, for example) that were absent from the book.

It's still a good book.  But a perfect little movie.

I do distinctly remember being gobsmacked the first time I read the book that Scabbers was the bad guy!

I once again have a British edition.  I found a list online of the differences between the British and American editions, but below are the ones I noticed immediately as I was reading.

On page 189 in the British edition, Fred says that "Dumbledore'd do his nut."  The American edition says "go ballistic."  I had no idea what that meant.  It means something completely different in American slang, something sexual.

Hermione says "I'd better pop my clogs then!" (page 85 in the British edition).  Again, I had no idea what that meant. The American edition makes that clearer to me:  "kick the bucket."

On page 233 in the British edition, the students were "revising for Care of Magical Creatures, Potions and Astronomy."  That means study.

At various times, including page 315, the students refer to their timetables, which in the American editions are called schedules.

Interestingly, Cornelius Fudge is Minister FOR Magic in the British edition and Minister OF Magic in the American editions (and movies) except I noticed Rowling switched back and forth between the two in the edition I have.  (if it is an error, this is the 8th printing, so it was not caught).

I've decided that instead of an asshole, Hagrid is on the spectrum. That would explain his obsessive love with monsters and his inability to interact appropriately with almost all wizards & witches.

Ron is still an asshole though.

Azkaban is where Lupin first refers to Hermione as the "cleverest witch of her age," a line that I love (and use to describe a dear friend of mine as a compliment).  In the movie, I think it's "the brightest witch of her age."

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm going to state a bit of anathema... the movie version of this book is better than the book itself. I have both read this book enough times (seven at least) and seen the movie enough times (at least four) to hold this truth to be self evident. I have two main reasons that this is true. 1) The movie, which is superbly written and filmed, portrays magic as something wonderfully fun; there is this particular scene in which all the boys are trying some sort of candy that turns their voices into different animals. The enchantment of enchantment never seems to ring as true in the book 2) The end in the movie is so much better than the end of the book. So much so, that I kept looking for things in the book that I realized belatedly only happen in the movie. The movie takes a good ending and makes it stronger and better. All of this said, it's still a rollicking book.

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